With my sincere apologies to the vegetarians… we’ll be back to our regular, veg-friendly programming shortly.
In the spirit of Lunar New Year, which, for me, is basically another Thanksgiving (quality time with family, eating tasty things), here’s my Chinese-ish twist on stuffing. I made it two ways, with Taiwanese toast and with sliced steam buns, you know, for science. It’s savory and a little sweet, hearty, but with plenty of fresh herbs for contrast.
I’m headed home in a little bit to celebrate the Lunar New Year with my family. I’m trying to be mindful about seeing them more regularly, especially since it can be easy to be very caught up in my own world here, a few hundred miles away. I’m looking forward to cooking with my mom, chatting with my dad, and commiserating with my sister. I only wish that my car would drive itself the long way there and back!
Char Siu Stuffing
5 slices of Taiwanese toast or 2 steam buns
1 lb char siu
1 large handful of cilantro
around 5 cups of broth (low sodium if possible)
1-2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, plus more for serving
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Slice the bread or steam buns into small cubes. Toast in the oven until the bread is crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside. If you’ve got an extra day, you could also cut the bread and let it sit out overnight to get a little stale.
Slice the char siu into small pieces. Mince cilantro and scallions finely. Reserve a small portion of each herb for garnish later. Heat up a large pan and briefly stir fry the char siu and rest of the herbs — no need to cook the meat further, but just to help the flavors combine.
Mix the hoisin sauce into the broth and stir to dissolve. (You can add an egg to this mixture if you like your stuffing more custard-y, but I like mine a little like panzanella.)
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Combine the bread cubes and char siu mixture in a large bowl, mixing gently to combine. Carefully pour into a lightly oiled, lined, or nonstick pan. Slowly pour in the broth and hoisin sauce mixture until everything is moistened but not totally submerged. You might need to squeeze down the mixture a little bit.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Scatter reserved herbs and sesame seeds (if using). Serve with more hoisin sauce and/or Sriracha.
A note on the breads choices — I slightly preferred the toast, as I found it was more able to soak up the broth and flavor. That said, the more robust texture of the steam buns was very satisfying!